In May 2014, a pilot apprentice program was developed between Austin B-cycle and The Ghisallo Foundation with the purpose of providing youth bicycle mechanic skills training as well as employment opportunities. It is a mentorship program where the participant gains solid skills and real world work experience through paid apprenticeships. Not only does this provide the participant with marketable skills which are also useful to them to be able to maintain their own bikes along with their friends', but also the aids in the development of a resume for future job opportunities.
The first Apprentice Mechanic is Se'Daruis Rodgersl. He is 16 and came to us through the Boys and Girls Club (BGCA) Earn-A-Bike and Maintenance Program. After earning a bike, he initially started as a Shop Assistant and then became an Assistant Mechanic helping maintain the shop and performing maintenance and repairs during class. During the summer of 2014, we expanded the program to include Austin B-Cycle where he is developing his current skills as he learns about fleet management, bike building and much more.
"Se'Daruis came to us at a perfect time as we were working on inspections of all bikes after our tremendous SXSW experience, " said JD Simpson, Austin B-cycle Operations Director. "He jumped in and helped us inspect over 300 bikes!" Se'Daruis learned the basics of bike maintenance and repair and then was soon paired with an Operations Technician to provide much needed support in preventative weekly maintenance of checking the station docks and airing bike tires to Austin B-cycle. "Se'Daruis has been a great team member and has shown adaptability in an ever-changing environment. We were lucky to have him as a part of our program."